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Forklift Fatality Leads to Citations for Paper Firm


Ohio workers are often subject to workplace hazards that involve industrial trucks, such as forklifts. These vehicles are the cause of many workers' compensation suits. In many situations, Ohio workers are not properly trained or certified to use such industrial trucks, so they do not understand the safe operation of these vehicles. Additionally, industrial trucks require a great deal of care and maintenance; without appropriate attention, those vehicles can cause serious injuries and death. Now, one Ohio paper company is facing two safety violations after a July 23 incident in which a worker was killed while using a forklift.

Authorities report the tragic incident occurred while the man was operating a forklift that had not been fitted with proper rollover protection. The company, Cheney Pulp and Paper, is facing $77,000 in total fines in connection with the incident, which resulted in one serious citation and one willful citation. Willful citations are issued when an employer intentionally and knowingly disregards critical safety rules. In other words, the company simply did not care that it was exposing its workers to conditions that were likely to kill them. That violation is related to the absence of machine guards that would have protected the worker from being injured by moving parts.

The serious violation was issued because the company modified the forklift by removing the rollover protection structure. That violates manufacturers' guidelines for operating the piece of machinery. The severity of those two infractions has led to the company's placement in the OSHA Severe Violator Enforcement Program, which calls for more frequent safety inspections and targeted follow-up actions.

Every Ohio worker deserves to feel safe at work without worrying about lost wages or whether they will receive workers' compensation benefits. Relatives of victims who have died on the job may be eligible for financial compensation through the workers' employers; those workers' compensation benefits can provide valuable financial assistance during such a difficult time.

Source:, "Cheney Pulp and Paper Co. cited by US Labor Department's OSHA after worker fatally injured at Franklin, Ohio, paper mill" Scott Allen & Rhonda Burke, Nov. 26, 2013